Southern part of the traverse with summit route to Peñón de Casquerazo
The traverse of the Cuchillar de Ceraillos between the summit of El Morezon to the north and Peñón de Casquerazo to the south is part of the Integral del Circo de Gredos a long, mostly two days traverse of all Circo de Gredos summits.
This part of the Integral is a days outing and a great one. It ca be combined with an ascent of Peñón de Casquerazo and there are some minor summits on your way, too.
I describe the route from south to north but you can do it easily the other way round, too.
El Morezon and Cuchillar de Ceraillos as seen from the summit of Peñón de Casquerazo
Trailhead for the traverse is the Plataforma de Gredos parking area.
Road number N 110 goes from Caceres – Plasencia or from Salamanca region to El Barco de Àvila.
Road number N 502 goes from Talavera de la Reina or Avila to the Puerto de Pico pass.
Talavera de la Reina can be reached from Madrid or Toledo within 1,5 hours on the highway number A 5.
Between El Barco de Ávila and Puerto del Pico / Venta Rasquilla is the road number AV-941, which runs along the north side of Sierra de Gredos.
Follow this road to Hoyos del Espino and turn on road number AV-931 which leads up to the parking area of Plataforma de Gredos.
I have no information about public transport facilities in this region.
Start at the parking area of Plataforma de Gredos and follow the paved road in southern direction to the first trail junction. Go right there and ascend to the meadows of Prado de las Pozas.
Traverse these meadows and follow the Laguna Grande trail up to the Fuente de los Cavadores and Fuente los Barrerones fountain, passing by Los Barrerones with the first great views into Circo de Gredos.
Descend into the huge cirque, follow the trail on the first east then south shore of the Laguna Grande until you reach the Refugio Elola.
Follow first without trail the huge granite slabs on the west border of the valley to the emerald pond of Charco de la Esmeralda. Navigate round this lovely bathing tube on its left side and ascend steeply in the direction of the Portilla de los Machos. You soon will recognize the first cairns. Follow the cairns and some foot tracks up the steep scree and talus chute, first on the right / western side, more upwards on the eastern / left side of the chute.
Two thirds up the chute you reach the bottom of the huge summit block of Peñón de Casquerazo. If you want to summit the Peñón follow the cairned route up to the summit and return then to this spot.
Route junction, southern start of traverse
El Perro Que Fuma
Los Tres Hermanitos and the Portilla
To your left (in the upward direction) is a sort of oblique terrace between the lower and the upper rock faces of Cuchillar de Ceraillos. A cairned route traverses below El Perro Que Fuma first up then steeply down (some rock scrambling) into the Portilla Los Hermanitos.
A short ledge and a steep ascent upward in the direction of Los Tres Hermanitos – three huge rock spires, brings you to the crux of the route: a steep 30 m slab which has to be climbed upwards. You can use a crack between the slab and the rock face bordering it to climb up. At the top there are two or three exposed steps to reach save terrain. UIAA grade I / II and easy when dry, more demanding when wet or with snow / ice. In winter people rappel down the slab when doing the traverse from El Morezon (more common in winter).
Climbing the Crux slab
Risco de la Ventana
After the slab the route ascends slightly over huge granite slabs and talus, traversing below the summits of Los Tres Hermanitos (climbing routes), Risco de la Ventana, La Campana, El Enano. Then it drops down steeply using some meadow ledges in steep terrain and then traversing into Portilla de las Hoyuelas. This part is a bit confusing as there are many cairns and consequently many possible routes.
Los Tres Hermanitos and Peñón de Casquerazo
Ascent after Portilla de las Hoyuelas
At the Portilla the route changes to the east side of the Cuchillar de Ceraillos. It ascends steeply a talus and scree slope and traverses on more talus below the south summit of Risco de las Hoyuelas. After the talus section a good foot track starts and leads quickly up to Portilla Morezon where the north summit of Risco de las Hoyuelas can be climbend within 5 minutes.
The first part of the traverse as seen from Risco de las Hoyuelas
Portilla de las Hoyuelas
From the Portilla the route ascends to the huge summit block of El Morezon. There again the route is not obvious but the rock is good and rather easy (UIAA grade I) and a delightful climb up to the southern foresummit of El Morezon.
El Morezon as seen from Risco de las Hoyuelas
El Morezon south rock face
Climbing El Morezon south rock face
Traverse the near level summit zone of El Morezon to the highest point (huge granite slabs and talus).
Take best the cairned route to the northeast descending into the broad meadow col of Navasomera. Follow the cairned route now more to the north down and alongside the broad ridge of Cuerdo del Refugio del Rey, passing by La Trocha, the old paved royal hunting trail. Cuerdo del Refugio del Rey ends above the Las Pozas meadows and reaches the Laguna Grande trail near Refugio Reguero Llano. Descend on this paved trail back to Plataforma de Gredos.
This is the case for the part of the range which belongs to Castilla y Leon.
The whole of the traverse belongs to this protected site.
Information centers are at Hoyos del Espino (to the north) and Guisando (to the south).
here is no entrance fee but several regulations to protect the regional plants and animals. You find regulation panels at the Plataforma de Gredos parking area.
Gear & Route Condition
Two of the three Los Tres Hermanitos
The traverse is a year round outing.
In summer and autumn you need at least good hiking gear and good boots; you must be able to deal with off trail terrain, talus and steep scree and some scrambling (UIAA grade I) in exposed terrain.
In winter and spring you need crampons, gaiters, hiking poles and winter mountaineering gear (warm clothes). An ice axe and a rope with hareness and belay tools is useful, especially for the crux section: the slab below Los Tres Hermanitos.
Los Tres Hermanitos and Cuchillar de las Navajas
Mapa Excursionista – Hiking Map, scale 1 : 25.000, Sierra de Gredos, Circo de Gredos, Cinco Lagunas, Los Galayos, Editorial Alpina, number E-25
Parque Regional de la Sierra de Gredos, scale 1 : 25.000, Adrados Ediciones
Sierra de Gredos, Valle del Alberche y del Tietar, scale 1 : 50.000, La Tienda Verde